Sit-ups, crunches, side bends, waist-turns, etc., never, ever strip fat off your middle — no matter how many reps you crank out; no matter what those TV infomercials claim.

Body fat is fuel in dormant form. This means that the excess fat in your stomach is untapped energy. You cannot convert belly fat to energy by doing abdominal routines.

Why? Because sit-ups, crunches, etc., don’t require enough energy to force your body to dip into your stomach’s fat reserves.

Abdominal/core muscles are stabilizer muscles. Their primary job is to stabilize the spine.

Stabilizer muscles are “sissy” muscles, in that they are naturally weak and small, not designed by nature for force production.

This is why, when you lift with your lower back muscles (instead of the legs), you can injure them.

Stabilizer muscles don’t require much energy for performance or recuperation from performance.

So how, then, do you force your body to raid the fat deposits in your belly? By working hard the force-production muscles, primarily those in the legs!

Many people do not understand this concept, because we have been taught that to trim the middle, you must work the middle.

Legs have the largest, strongest muscles in the body. By vigorously applying weight routines to your legs, you will force your body to ransack the fat in your midsection to supply the legs with energy – not just during the workout, but for hours afterwards during recovery!

The same effect occurs when you weight-train your upper body, because your middle/upper back, chest, shoulders and arms also consist of force-production muscles.

So when a person at the gym comes up to me, pinching two inches on his or her waist, and asks, “How do I get rid of this? “I say, “Slam your legs with weights!” Their invariable response is, “What?”

Spend more time working your quadriceps, hamstrings, butt muscles, and upper body muscles, and less time doing crunches.

Five intense sets on the leg press machine and five tough sets of chest presses once a week will do far more for slashing belly fat, than will 1,000 crunches a day.

So what about those infomercials? Don’t the models’ six-packs just gleam while they twist and turn on that funky abdominal gadget? Well, of course! They’d gleam if they were shifting position on a hammock, too!

These gadgets usually come with a full-body weight training plan, as well as diet. The gadget in and of itself will not strip inches off your waistline.

Your body will pull energy from where it is stored. If it’s stored in your gut, you will lose fat there by working the force-production muscles.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.